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(Part 19)


December 13, 2012

Today’s readings:
Isaiah 41:13-20
Psalm 145:1,9,10-11,12-13
Matthew 11:11-15

Jesus makes an astonishing statement: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (Jn 14:12). We will do greater works than Jesus did? Well, Jesus made a similar astonishing statement before. He said, “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mt 11:11). The least is greater than John the Baptist?

What is this all about? It is about the great privilege that Jesus gives his disciples. Jesus is going to the Father, and it is now up to us to continue his work of salvation on earth. John’s greatness lay in his task of announcing the imminence of the Kingdom. But we not only announce the good news of salvation in Jesus and eternal life, but we are already in the Kingdom, having a foretaste of that life in heaven. We have been saved. We are restored to being children of the Father.

Jesus sends us forth in his name, to do his work, to help bring souls to heaven. This is the all-important work of the Kingdom. This is why if we BE.LI.EV.E, then we can do even greater works.

This is important, because the enemy is powerful. Satan, a fallen angel, is stronger than any of us. His worldly forces--the USA, EU, UN, billionaires, giant multinationals--have economic, political and military power. And they are all determined to impose the culture of death on the whole world. This includes an assault on faith, especially on the Roman Catholic Church. “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force.” (Mt 11:12). The diabolical powers are indeed violent, causing the dreadful holocaust of the unborn, severing marriage bonds, destroying families, spreading the scourge of HIV/AIDS, assaulting pro-lifers, killing Christians. The tsunami of evil rampages!

But Jesus is the stronger man. And if we have faith, the Holy Spirit empowers us. Even as we are in a David vs Goliath fight, even as the diabolical forces are overwhelming, we know that faith works wonders. Nothing is impossible with God. “I will open up rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the broad valleys; I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water.” (Is 41:18).

God calls us, sends us, and in the process empowers us. We need not be afraid of the enemy or the fight. “For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” (Is 41:13). In doing so, God enables us to do greater works, to do what is impossible. “I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and double-edged, to thresh the mountains and crush them, to make the hills like chaff.” (Is 41:15). Wow! What might! A crushing sledgehammer!

Jesus promised we will do greater works, and God will accomplish this in us. “The Lord is trustworthy in every word, and faithful in every work.” (Ps 145:13b). If we BE.LI.EV.E, then we will make “known to all (God’s) power” (Ps 145:12a). When the Holy Spirit acts in power in and through us, we give all the glory to God, “that all may see and know, observe and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Is 41:20).

“Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Mt 11:15).

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